On April 1, 2014 Bywater Books, the award-winning publisher of quality lesbian writing, celebrated a decade in the book industry and the receipt of its 20th prize for literary merit.
Bywater publishes approximately six books per year, both literary and commercial fiction for lesbians and all readers who desire fresh, distinctive voices coupled with captivating plots. Bywater has published 32 original works of fiction, 21 of which – or 66% – have either won or have been shortlisted for awards. Its books are carried by all major distributors worldwide.
“Bywater Books has been a pillar in lesbian and independent publishing for a decade with a remarkable roster of authors who thrill us, move us, make us laugh, make us think, and most importantly, make us want to keep reading,” said Tony Valenzuela, Executive Director of the Lambda Literary Foundation. “Congratulations to Bywater for 10 great years of publishing!”
Bywater was founded in 2004 and is owned by Kelly Smith, founder of Bella Books and former owner of A Woman’s Prerogative bookstore in Michigan; award-winning author Marianne K. Martin; and best-selling mystery writer Val McDermid. Michele Karlsberg of Karlsberg Marketing and Management, founder of Amethyst Press and winner of the Publishing Triangle Leadership Award, took on the role of marketing director in 2009.
As part of the celebration, Bywater will publish Tangled Roots, the prequel to the first book it published, the ground-breaking novel Under the Witness Tree by Marianne K. Martin. Under the Witness Tree was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. Author Katherine V. Forrest said “Marianne K. Martin achieves new heights with this lovingly researched and intelligent novel.”
Bywater is also announcing the opening of its annual Bywater Prize for Fiction, which awards $1,000 and publication to a novel-length work of merit.
“We’re committed to bringing the best of contemporary lesbian writing to our avid readers,” said Editor-in-Chief Smith. “Our editorial team is dedicated to finding and developing outstanding writers who create books you won’t want to put down. We’ve already discovered amazing writers like Jill Malone, Sally Bellerose, and Hilary Sloin through the Bywater Prize and I’m excited to find the next fresh voice.”